DOH Uncertain if New HIV Strain is in Philippines

THE Department of Health (DOH) is unaware if the new strain of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has already entered the country.

Acting DOH Secretary Janette Garin said they have no idea at present because people infected by the new HIV strain usually do not immediately show any symptoms.

Last week, reports came out that scientists have discovered a new HIV strain that is three times faster than the usual strain that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (Aids).

Studies indicate that patients infected with CRF19 develop Aids in less than three years, which is faster than the usual 10 years.

Garin said the DOH is doing its part in helping international scientists learn more about the strain said to have been discovered in Cuba.

“Kapag may resulta ng HIV test, padala tayo ng padala sa kanila para tignan nila at pag-aralan,” she said.

Meanwhile, Garin said what Filipinos should be more worried about is the continued increase in HIV cases.

“What is very important is that everybody should be more aware of how HIV can be transmitted, how they will protect themselves from HIV,” she said.
Based on DOH records, there are already 22,527 HIV cases in the country, including 2,049 Aids cases and 1,118 deaths since 1984.

HIV cases have risen sharply in the past five years, from 1,591 new cases in 2010; 2,349 in 2011; 3,338 in 2012; 4,814 in 2013; and 6,011 in 2014. (HDT/Sunnex)


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